Mediated Harmony: Labor Conflict and Rule of Law in China



Mary E. Gallagher, University of Michigan

Date and Time

April 22, 2013 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM April 15.


Stanford Center at Peking University

This talk will focus on the impact of the decision in 2003 to revive mediation as a key method of labor dispute resolution. In the context of changing economic and social conditions, including tighter labor markets, the Chinese state has pushed for more protection labor legislation, which has increased the number and severity of disputes. At the same time, the state has deemphasized legal channels for resolution, encouraging workers and employers to bypass adversarial litigation, reviving mediation as the preferred method of settlement. This case demonstrates the uses and limitations of “rule of law” under authoritarian rule and the contradiction of stronger laws with a resolution method that tends to deemphasize law and legal rights in favor of harmony and conciliation will be explored.

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